At Your Service
by AC Arthur
Book 2 in the Fabulous Golds Series
App entrepreneur Nina Fuller’s having a hellish day. And it just got worse. So much worse. She just ran smack into someone tall, dark and delicious. And so, so hard. A man whose smooth, tantalizing voice slides across her skin, stroking her libido. Making her want things she’s not allowed to want…
Which is a problem, since fashion exec Major Gold isn’t just a dish of mouthwateringly hot proportions. Known as the Fashion House Playboy, he’s the one who can make Nina’s newest accessory app a roaring success. Or not. But Major wants something else from Nina. An arrangement that means they could both get what they want.
Provided, of course, Nina is willing to spend the next six weeks pretending to be his fiancée.
Nina is a woman who knows exactly what she wants—and that includes Major. His touch unleashes a sexual force unlike anything she’s ever known. Explosive. Addictive.
And when it comes to tempting Nina, Major is definitely not going to be good as gold…
At Your Service
Book 2 in the Fabulous Golds Series
At Your Service
LET’S DO THIS.
Whispering the mantra as she stepped out of the ladies’ room, Nina smoothed her palms down the front of her navy-blue pencil skirt. With her portfolio tucked under one arm and her black leather purse hanging on the opposite shoulder, she walked easily in four-inch black pumps. Until she turned the corner and collided with something hard and delicious-smelling.
Her portfolio hit the ground as she threw her hands up and felt a strong grip on her upper arms.
His voice was deep but smooth and made her feel like warm water was streaming down her body, easing to her core.
“Sorry,” she mumbled with a shake of her head.
Nina pulled out of his grasp and went down on her knees to snap up the pages that had escaped from her folder. As if in rebellion, or just because they wanted her to look like a complete idiot, the papers had scattered across the dark-carpeted floor a distance away from where she was standing.
“Here, let me help,” he was saying, but Nina didn’t reply.
And she didn’t look up, just continued to gather the wayward sheets, cursing herself and what had been a horrific start to this very important day. Clutching a handful of pages, she started to stand when her purse decided to slip from her shoulder. Oh no, I’m not dropping anything else today. She lifted her hands and caught the bag as Mr. Helpful came closer.
Anxious to just get this uncomfortable encounter over with and to make it to the meeting she was already in danger of being late for, Nina glanced up to meet his gaze. Warm root-beer-brown eyes stared back at her while lips of medium thickness parted slightly as if he were ready to speak again. His words were halted when her hands took that moment to continue moving upward, brushing over this gorgeous guy’s pants on the way.
No, not just his pants but his…
Nina’s jaw dropped, heat immediately fusing her cheeks as her eyes widened and she yanked her hands back against her chest so hard she almost lost her breath.
“Are you all right?”
Nina was on her way to a meeting that would make or break her business and she was standing here touching a man she didn’t know. A man who was the epitome of tall, bronzed, handsome and apparently very aroused.
“I’m fine,” she managed to croak and then cleared her throat. Stuffing the papers under her arm, she reached for the black case he held. “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome. Can I help you get your belongings together?”
“No. Really. I have it. It’s no problem,” she said because the problem was obviously her. Or it could have been the train from York to Manhattan that was late because something had spilled on the tracks, or the gigantic rip in her stockings from when she’d slid across the torn seat of the taxi upon finally arriving at the Ronald Gold Fashions headquarters. Either way, this day was not getting better.
Nina stepped around the man, hoping he wouldn’t say anything else to her. She walked as quickly as she could without running and appearing more like a crazy person. Not knowing exactly where she was going, she continued down the long hallway, turning the moment she saw an opening on the right and then moving just as fast in that direction.
Her phone buzzed and she stopped to dig into her purse to retrieve it.
“Hey, Angie,” she answered after seeing her sister’s name on the screen.
“Hey. I won’t be able to run past Dad’s tonight to check on him and Daisy’s got a photo shoot so she doesn’t think she’ll get there until after eight.”
Nina closed her eyes as her fingers tightened on the phone. She didn’t scream the way she wanted to because everything that could go wrong today had already gone wrong. She inhaled deeply once more and let the breath out slowly before replying. “I’m in New York for a meeting, as I told everyone at dinner last night. I won’t be back until tomorrow morning. So somebody’s gonna have to go over there and make sure Dad takes his medications as directed and doesn’t end up passed out on the floor.”
It was, to Nina, as simple as that. But to her sisters what she’d just said wouldn’t make any sense. Younger than her by four and six years, Angie and Daisy were so used to Nina taking care of everything—from their father to them when they were young girls—that the idea of doing some of the grown-up heavy lifting was too much for them to fathom. They’d much rather continue to dump it all on Nina’s shoulders. Well, not today.
“I thought you were coming back tonight,” Angie argued.
“No. I changed my mind. I don’t get away from home often so I’m going to spend the evening in New York. I told you that also, in the reminder text I sent three hours ago when I was on my way to the train station.” Nina lifted a hand to touch her hair, double-checking to make sure it was smooth and neat after her run-in with the hot guy.
“Well, that’s not fair, Nina. Daisy and I are busy tonight and you’re gonna be in New York living it up. You know Dad needs to be checked on daily.”
Yes, she did know that, mainly because it was something she said on a routine basis to her sisters.
“It’s one night, Angie. You and Daisy can figure something out for just one night.” Her temples started that slow persistent thumping that signaled a migraine, which wasn’t good.
“Look, it is what it is. And I have to hang up because I need to get into this meeting. I’ll call Dad to check on him as soon as the meeting is done, but you and Daisy are responsible for him tonight.”
“But nothing. Goodbye, Angie.”
Nina pushed the button to disconnect the call. Technically she hadn’t hung up on her, even though sometimes Angie and Daisy deserved just that. They were beyond old enough to handle a night without Nina giving detailed outlines of what they needed to do. And having just celebrated her thirtieth birthday last month, Nina deserved one night in New York, the fashion capital of the United States.
First, she needed to get to this meeting, make her presentation and grab this account. Everything was riding on this—having the money to get her father into an assisted-living facility and giving her app the boost it needed to compete in the big leagues of the fashion industry.
You can do this. It’s what you’ve been working so hard for these last two years. You’re going to get this account and everything else will fall into place. You’ve got this!
Nodding to herself, Nina dropped her phone back into her purse.
It took her another five minutes to walk all the way to the other side of the floor where there was a set of glass doors with the gold letters RGF on the front. Once she pulled the door open and stepped inside, the rapid beat of her heart ceased. The heat that had still burned her cheeks subsided and she walked toward the reception desk, her shoulders squared, chin held high.
After introducing herself to the receptionist—a pretty woman with coal-black hair that fell down her back—Nina was directed down another hallway to the last door on the right. Nina entered the room with her ready-to-take-on-the-world attitude and superstar smile, only to have it falter the minute she locked gazes with the man sitting at the far end of the table.
The same man she’d bumped into only moments ago. The man whose hard dick she’d felt…inadvertently, of course.
Major sat back in the leather conference room chair with one hand on his thigh, the other rubbing the shaved skin of his jaw. He couldn’t take his eyes off her throughout her presentation. Nor could he stop the erection that had sprung so quickly when they’d first met in the hallway and he’d watched her bend over in that tight skirt. Of course, that hadn’t been their official meeting. No, that awkward moment had come the second she’d walked into the conference room where he was seated with his brothers and two of his tech department staffers.
Nina Fuller, owner and operator of the At Your Service fashion accessorizing app, was beautiful with toffee-brown colored hair hanging past her shoulders and cinnamon-hued skin. Not only did her skirt fit the round curve of her ass and the stretch of her thighs just right, but the pale blue blouse she wore with it was tucked neatly into a high-waist, its sheer material hanging alluringly over her breasts. Major’s palms itched with the thought of cupping them and watching as they spilled over his fingers.
His dick jumped again and he eased his hand up higher on his thigh to give the pulsating shaft a gentle push.
Get it together!
“What’s the traffic like on this app?” RJ asked. “Is there so much that it could possibly become inundated and freeze? Customer complaints spread like wildfire online and an app crashing could be a PR catastrophe.”
As the director of sales for the family business, Major’s older brother RJ—Ronald Gold III—was always concerned about the customers and how much merchandise they were buying. RJ’s comment solicited a nod from Maurice, Major’s younger twin brother. But since this presentation was for a tech product, Major—the company’s technical developer—was front and center on the decision making. That meant he should stop gawking at this woman like he was a horny teenager and get his head in the game.
His fingers involuntarily moved closer to cup his hardened dick. Not that head!
“What he means is…how are your configurations designed?” he asked. “Will the overflow in use cause the app’s algorithms to go haywire?”
Technical speak was Major’s thing and apparently so was getting turned on by a woman he barely knew.
Her gaze found his, and her tongue slipped out to lick her lips for just a second. Long enough for him to swallow. Hard.
She clicked the button on the small control device cushioned in the palm of her hand. The images on the screen across the room flipped back to one of the previous presentation slides where she’d outlined the beginning sketches of her app.
“Two years ago, when the first thoughts of At Your Service entered my mind, I planned exactly what I wanted it to do. Match accessories to outfits. Nothing more, nothing less. By staying focused on what the app absolutely needed to do to succeed, I was able to avoid many common pitfalls in new app development—overreaching ideas. With that said, during the first two years of the app’s startup, I’ve fine-tuned and streamlined its function so that even with high volume it still functions as seamlessly as if there were only ten to twelve users.”
Confident. Knowledgeable. Intriguing.
All things that were required for a good sales pitch. And things that aroused Major on a level he hadn’t quite explored before.
Sure, he’d been dubbed the Fashion House Playboy three months ago by the press, but as the last thing on his busy schedule was to deal with the lies that oftentimes floated through the tabloids and online gossip sites, Major hadn’t given the title or its implications the time of day. The executives in RGF’s marketing department, on the other hand, had. It was now an actual agenda item to be dealt with when this meeting was over.
At the moment, however, he was staring into the lovely topaz-brown eyes of a woman who wanted RGF to integrate her app on its website. In essence, this was business. Not pleasure. He took another second to try to send that message to his aching dick.
“Your plans look detailed and well thought out. And you say this has been up and running for two years. How many clients do you currently have?”
“The first year was for planning, developing and trial runs,” she said. “The second year was for getting all the licenses required and finding vendors to facilitate the app’s main function. Three independent fashion designers have been satisfied with the application in the last five months. Letters of recommendation are included in the information packets I passed out. But my goal is expansion. This app in its current state is primarily designed to be a corporate plug-in. Eventually, as my brand gains visibility, I’ll be expanding to target individual customers.” She stood a few inches away from the projector screen, hands clasped in front of her, shoulders back.
A light layer of makeup covered a very pretty face, and hair that looked silky and shiny made his fingers itch to touch the long tresses.
“Amelia Jewelers is one of the vendors we work with for showings along the East Coast,” RJ said, looking down at the papers Nina had referred to.
“Yes, they’re reputable and reliable. I trust Amelia Cane’s words implicitly.” That came from Jenner Carlson, the lead tech developer in Major’s department. “And the layout you’ve created is simple, yet efficient. All a customer has to do is upload the clothes they’ve purchased and accessory ideas are immediately assembled.”
“Correct.” Nina continued, “This is after they’ve set up their user profile, which collects pertinent information like body type, style preferences and budget. The customer will have a seventy-two-hour period to consider their selections before either being directed to purchase via third-party sites or to re-accessorize. A schedule of gentle reminders in that time frame keeps the app and the clothes just purchased prevalent in the customer’s mind.”
“But this app doesn’t drive customers to the RGF site. We would essentially have to bring the customers to you, which makes this a winning opportunity for you and just an added benefit for us,” RJ noted, leaning back in his chair, hands clasped in his lap. This was the not-so-impressed stance his brother took just before he was about to shoot down an idea.
“But what if there was a widget for the app on the RGF site telling the customer that we care about their overall look and not just the garment they purchase from us,” Major said. “Then everyone benefits from the sale we’ve secured because we were savvy and compassionate enough to consider our customers’ overall needs, bringing us even more customers who will like the idea of a sort of one-stop shop.”
His comment was rewarded with a slow smile and nod from Nina. An action that sealed the deal—his hard-on wasn’t ceasing anytime soon.
The part of his brain that was determined to focus on work tried to press through. After all, he’d originally intended to shoot this idea down. He could admit it was partially a selfish act since some of the things Nina’s app offered were in direct competition with what he wanted to feature through his own company—the company he’d be launching soon, which his family still didn’t know about.
Discussion continued for a few moments more, ending when RJ mentioned he had another meeting to get to.
“You’re in that meeting, also, Major. So, Ms. Fuller, we’ll be in touch.”
Nina didn’t falter even though Major recognized the dismal tone of rejection in RJ’s voice.
“Thank you so much for your time, gentlemen,” she said, clicking the button on the remote to clear the screen.
Major took his time tucking the packet she’d provided into his padfolio before closing and zipping it shut. He slipped his phone out of his pocket and quickly checked it for text messages.
“Ten minutes,” RJ said. “Don’t be late, we’ve got a tight schedule. Major? Are you listening?”
Lifting his gaze from his phone, Major found both his brothers staring at him. “Yes. I’ll be there in ten minutes. Just have to rearrange my schedule a bit.”
Landra, his assistant, had had to postpone the meeting with the agent and actresses Major was scheduled to meet with this afternoon so that he could attend yet another meeting with the marketing department to talk about the very reason he needed to hire an actress in the first place.
His brothers, and Jenner and Ken headed out of the conference room, leaving Major alone with Nina Fuller and that very tight skirt, which continued to make his mouth water.